Printed in December 2016, When the amended Electricity Regulation Act (ERA) comes into pressure, it will regulate the usage of small scale electricity generators by requiring registration with the National Power Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).
This is based on Lizel Oberholzer and Jarrett Whitehead, attorneys at Norton Rose Fulbright, who say that the regulation will likely have far-reaching results, as personal use of small scale Solar Backup Generators For Home Use has increased dramatically in South Africa.
“It has been reported that personal electricity generation from Solar Backup Generators For Home Use alone has increased from 35MW in 2015 to 159MW in 2016,” mentioned Norton Rose Fulbright.
“Earlier than parliament, the Department of Power expressed concern with the lack of revenue that municipalities and Eskom are experiencing on account of increased personal generation of energy. These concerns had been echoed by Nersa, which supported the presentation.”
In December 2016, the “Draft Licensing Exemption and Registration Discover” expresses the minister of vitality’s intention to exempt varied classes of generation amenities and electrical resellers from the requirement to hold a licence underneath the ERA.
Under these rules, as a substitute of requiring a licence, listed actions will need to be registered with Nersa.
Currently any generation plant operated for demonstration or for ‘own use’, which isn't linked to the grid, is excluded from the licensing necessities underneath the ERA.
“The discover provides that listed generation actions, including these previously exempt from licensing necessities, should be registered with Nersa,” mentioned Norton Rose Fulbright.
“Listed actions embody the operation of generation amenities with an put in capability of less than 1MW (both linked and unconnected to the grid) and generation amenities for demonstration purposes and for purposes of standby or again-up electricity in the occasion of provide interruption (regardless of generation capability).”
“In follow, this could imply that each home, farm, lodge, hospital and shopping center with photo voltaic panels or diesel generators (whether or not linked to the grid or not) with a capability of less that 1MW should register with Nersa.”
Although the ERA provides that registration with Nersa should be carried out on the prescribed utility form and should be accompanied by a registration fee, corresponding rules prescribing the requirements have yet to be published.
The act additionally empowers Nersa to refuse functions for registration underneath sure circumstances, including where an utility is “contrary to the targets of the Act”.
Non-compliance with any provision of the act is a felony offence which is punishable by a advantageous of as much as R5 million and imprisonment for as much as 5 years.
“We do not know what arrangements might be offered to accommodate current off-grid electricity users, however it's hoped that such provisions will allow all affected parties to register and keep away from penalties,” mentioned Norton Rose Fulbright.
“While the complete implications of the proposed amendment will solely turn out to be clear once candidates begin attempting to register with Nersa, if managed poorly, the Department of Power’s try and regain some management of off-grid vitality generation may severely affect many people.”
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